Mumbai: Since January, the traffic police have issued more than 26,000 challans for wrong-side driving while the crackdown against the offence has been intensified. The amendment to the Motor Vehicles Act in 2021 has made driving on the wrong side a non-compoundable offence. Traffic cops are registering first information reports (FIR) against offenders and seizing their licences apart from recovering a fine of Rs500 from first-time offenders.
97 licenses seized at Matunga
Taking action on growing complaints of wrong-side driving, the police first started a special campaign in April for three weeks. It was resumed again this month, apprised traffic cops. At the Matunga traffic division alone, 97 licenses were seized this month; out of which, 44 are being sent to the Regional Transport Office (RTO) for suspension. Officials in the division said two-wheelers are mostly caught for wrong-side driving. “The ones jumping signals or driving on wrong-side are mostly two-wheelers. They think their vehicle is small so won't be spotted cutting lanes and breaking traffic norms. But when they do so during peak hour traffic, they create a nuisance for everyone, including us,” an official said. Activist Anil Galgali said now the police are manually tackling the problem. “The need is to use CCTV to track down the offenders. Also, road signage should be more visible,” he added.
Outside the east side of the Dadar railway station, which falls under the Matunga traffic division, several challans were issued against two-wheelers and taxis for breaking traffic norms. “The road outside the station is already narrow. It handles two-side flowing traffic, with buses, taxis and private vehicles. Not to mention, pedestrian movement. It’s important for citizens to maintain a sensible driving pattern. We have deployed two of our officers on day-long duty and during extra rush days/hours, we deploy additional traffic wardens to maintain the situation,” added the official.
Violations in Tilak Nagar, Mulund, Wadala
At the Tilak Nagar police station in Chembur, the police have registered at least four separate FIRs against auto drivers for wrong-side driving. The sections added in the FIRs include 279 (rash driving or driving dangerously), 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code and section 184 (driving dangerously) of the Motor Vehicles Act. As per the Chembur traffic police, most cases of wrong and rash driving occur at the Amar Mahal Junction, Santacruz-Chembur Link Road and Chheda Nagar Junction.
On Sunday, a 22-year-old rickshaw driver, Vakas Tayyabali Shaha, was arrested by the Wadala TT police for not only driving on the wrong side at the Wadala-Chembur Link Road, but also ramming into an on-duty traffic cop who was instructing him to return back. The 55-year-old police sub-inspector, Sukdev Karad, attached with the Antop Hill Traffic division sustained injuries after Shaha dashed him.
In Mulund, several auto drivers were issued challans for driving in the wrong direction. A 23-year-old rickshaw driver, Pandurang Lakman Gore, was arrested for committing the same offence at the SL Road in Mulund West. Meanwhile, a two-wheeler rider, Sainath Durafe, 35, was arrested for wrong-side driving in Dadar West.